Could a MD coal plant house a small nuclear reactor?

A rendering of the Xe-100 4-pack plant is shown. Rockville-based mostly organization, X-strength and Frostburg Point out College both equally acquired grants from the Maryland Power Administration to check out the feasibility of changing a coal plant to dwelling a little nuclear reactor to deliver electric power. (Submitted picture)

A Maryland vitality company and Frostburg State University have acquired grants from the Maryland Energy Administration to jointly take a look at the feasibility of converting a coal plant to household a small nuclear reactor to deliver electrical energy.

The Rockville-centered firm, X-power, develops innovative compact modular reactors, or SMRs. The nuclear reactors, scaled-down than conventional reactors, are built to be designed off-internet site and transported to the set up locale. Proponents sustain they are safer and additional expense-productive than conventional reactors.

Considering that the announcement of the grants in June, X-vitality has started to assess irrespective of whether its Xe-100 unit — a substantial-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor — could be deployed at a single of Maryland’s coal-fired electric power vegetation.

“The technological assessment will take into consideration overall web page suitability, present website infrastructure, suitability for an Xe‐100 reactor, regulatory considerations and implementation agenda,” X-strength spokesman Robert McEntyre explained.

If X-strength establishes that a Maryland coal-fired plant could be repurposed, a group at Frostburg State University will finalize a socioeconomic feasibility evaluation, McEntyre claimed.

The group will look at the area’s expertise pipeline to ascertain whether a workforce to build and work the reactor could be made.

A rendering of the X-strength nuclear reactor that is remaining analyzed to see if converting a coal-powered plant to aid modest nuclear reactors to make electrical energy. (Submitted image)

Maryland has three running coal-fired power plants: Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner in Anne Arundel County and Warrior Operate in Allegany County. Between the state’s retired coal-fired crops are Dickerson in Montgomery County, Chalk Level in Prince George’s County, Morgantown in Charles County and Charles P. Crane in Baltimore County.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal-fired producing vegetation historically supplied more than 50 percent of Maryland’s internet era, but coal’s share fell to 9% in 2020 as normal gasoline-fired generation improved.

All-natural fuel and nuclear electricity presented 79% of Maryland’s total in-state energy net technology in 2020, with Maryland’s only nuclear electricity plant — Calvert Cliffs, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County — accounting for 41% of the state’s full web technology, according to the Electricity Facts Administration.

A tiny nuclear reactor would convey a number of rewards to Maryland, such as very well-paying employment and decreased-expense electrical power for residents and businesses, in accordance to the Maryland Vitality Administration.

It would also give carbon-totally free electricity.

“Replacing era on coal websites affords the option to make use of present infrastructure and to provide steady, dispatchable, non-intermittent generation to the grid that is successfully jogging 24/7, though emitting no carbon emissions,” mentioned Jahmai Sharp-Moore, spokeswoman for the Maryland Electrical power Administration. “Having era like this is critical if the state desires to meet up with its carbon reduction aims at an suitable expense whilst holding the lights on.”

This calendar year, the Maryland Basic Assembly passed the Local climate Options Now Act, which aims to cut down net greenhouse fuel emissions to zero by 2045.

A remaining report on the SMR feasibility analyze is predicted in the drop.

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